Many people use keys every single day but have no idea how they operate. Today, we’re going to explore the mystery behind how keys work.
In the most basic sense, every key is coded for depth and length. A traditional key is composed of two major parts: the bow and the blade.
The blade is the specific part of the key which slides inside the lock. The bow is the portion which protrudes from the blade; the part you hold in your hand when you use the key.
The blade has grooves in it, which are designed to fit in some keyways and not others and are what define one lock from another. If the slots don’t match the keyway, that key will never be able to fit in the lock. Many people become quite adept at determining the maker of the lock by merely looking at the groove silhouette.
The key’s code, or the blade cut, is made to match the tumbler found in the lock itself.
Pins with different lengths move into alignment to accommodate the key’s cut, either preventing opening or allowing access to the lock. Cuts inside the keyway, usually called wards by locksmiths, restrict the opening of the lock to a particular key which can be used inside the keyway of the lock. Once the right key is completely inserted, the pins align, and the cylinder will rotate to allow access. The flat and smaller keys available today, the ones with serrated edges, are used for the double pin-acting tumbler lock. The common key was the invention of Linus Yale Jr. back in the year 1861. He expanded on the original pin-tumbler design made by his father during the 1840s.
While remote keys and transponder keys have brought in brand new innovative ways to the realm of locksmith services, the standard pin-tumbler lock is still extensively used in homes and commercial establishments as well as in gates, personal safe boxes and other means of secure access or storage.
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